Sting, Russell Brand, Richard Branson Ask Prime Minister To Decriminalize Marijuana
As part of the push of yesterday’s Global Day of Action to counter the stigmatization of drug users and promote a more enlightened perspective on treatment versus criminalization, over 90 celebrities signed a letter to England’s Prime Minister David Cameron asking him to decriminalize marijuana, the Independent reported.
The letter noted current prohibitive laws have led to “unnecessary criminalisation” of more than 1.5 million people in the last 15 years. “It also notes that evidence from Australia, the Czech Republic and Portugal proves that health problems related to drugs are “dramatically” reduced when users are provided with medical support rather than being prosecuted,” the Independent stated.
The request came as the United Nations held its annual International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. It was also the Support Don’t Punish organisation’s 2nd Global Day of Action, which highlights how drug users are still “stigmatized and abused”.
100 international cities held protests against the “war on drugs” yesterday. In London, protesters met in Parliament Square drawing attention to their concerns over the English government’s policy on illegal drugs.
“The global day of action is a public show of force for drug policy reform”, Ann Fordham, executive director of the International Drug Policy Consortium, told the BBC.
“The tide is turning and governments need to urgently fix their drug policies and repair the damage that has been done.”
Russell Brand has been an outspoken critic of the current methods of addressing the problems of drug users, pushing for a more compassionate approach. In countries where medical support is used rather than prosecution health problems have been dramatically reduced.
“It is something I consider to be an illness, and therefore more of health matter than a criminal or judicial matter,” he said.
“It is more important that we regard people suffering from addiction with compassion and there is a pragmatic rather than a symbolic approach to treating it.”